Posts tagged ‘Allergies’

October 7, 2011

Operation: Fatten That Child

Ah, allergies. How you have changed our lives in a few short months.

This week, Jacob went for his twelve-month check up with the pediatrician. He is healthy, except for his blotchy skin and the fact that he put on a whopping three ounces in three months.  A kid that started at or above the ninety-fifth percentile for weight is now between the tenth and twentieth percentiles. The other day on the playground, for the first time, he looked small compared to the kids around him. And it kind of broke my heart.


The doctor’s orders are to give him more healthy fats. I’m taking on the role of the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” and declaring Operation: Fatten That Child. The good news is that he’s happy to eat half an avocado at lunch each day. The bad news is that I can’t figure out what else to do, short of pouring olive oil into his sippy cup. John and I are both amazed that we’ve raised a child that is, in a way, too healthy.

Our doctor suggested trying eggs to see if he’s still allergic to them. If not, that could be a good addition to his diet. So we tried it, and to spare you the details, he is definitely still allergic. This weekend we might try bread, as that could get some good calories in him, too. Here’s hoping! Either way, we head to the allergist next week, so I’m praying for some helpful guidance!

In the meantime, the little man is officially weaned, and he really didn’t seem to mind at all. He’s still making faces like this:


and now I get to eat real cupcakes.

Crumbs, here I come!

You may have challenged us, food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities, but you will not prevail!

October 3, 2011

The Other St. Anthony

Most Catholics—and their friends who are apt to lose things—are familiar with St. Anthony of Padua. I, for one, cannot count the number of times I’ve successfully prayed, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and it needs to be found.” To non-Catholics, the idea of praying to saints is strange, but a Catholic asking for a saint’s intercession is not at all worship. Rather, it’s like when you ask a friend on earth to pray for something, except this friend (the saint) is already in Heaven, which is just one step closer to the Big Guy.

These days, I’m calling on a different St. Anthony, one I wouldn’t have found without the help of my trusty pal, Google. Allow me to introduce you to St. Anthony the Abbott.

When St. Anthony was a young man, his parents died and left him with his inheritance and the responsibility to care for his sister. He took the Gospels quite literally, and upon hearing Matthew 19:21, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me,” he walked out of the church and did just that.

As he detached himself more and more from the world, eventually living alone in the desert with very little to eat and only skins to wear (and yet he lived to be a hundred and five years old!), he became closer and closer to God. He overcame enormous temptation with serenity and strength. Every day he started as a new beginning, never allowing the trials of the day before to persuade him to give himself any kind of break. His journey was always toward God in action more than words, although some of his writings have been collected and preserved.

Initially my interest in this St. Anthony was founded in his being a patron saint of skin diseases, as Jacob’s allergic reactions manifest as rashes and hives. As I read through St. Anthony’s biography, I couldn’t really see the connection, until I came to this prayer at the end:

Saint Anthony, you spoke of the importance of persevering in our faith and our practice. Help us to wake up each day with new zeal for the Christian life and a desire to take the next challenge instead of just sitting still. Amen.

Jacob’s had some more reactions lately, some of which we can account for, and some of which we can’t. I’m often getting discouraged with those we can’t decipher, feeling like I’m not doing all I can as the mom in this situation. Reading about St. Anthony reminds me that I need to trust in God, that I need to tackle each challenge that comes my way with faith and love. It’s okay to feel frustrated, but I can’t let that influence how I act. I have a job to do—being a mom to this precious little boy—and I need to do it well.

If you’re the praying kind, pleas help us to pray that St. Anthony will intercede for us and help us to sort these allergies out. There must be something I’m not seeing here, and I need the grace to find it. Maybe there’s work for both St. Anthonys here. There’s certainly no harm in trying!

September 30, 2011

The Blueberry Quota

It is a well-known fact around these parts that Jacob loves blueberries. When we got him tested for allergies, we learned that berries were among the seemingly few foods that did not mess with his system. And thank goodness! While we otherwise wouldn’t have introduced them for another couple of months, since that fateful day, he has had them for breakfast almost every single day. For his birthday I made him blueberry cupcakes with blueberry frosting, topped with—you guessed it—blueberries.


Recently I’ve started to wonder if we’re in too much of a rut with what we eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and even dinner. The restrictions on what Jacob and I can eat make meal planning challenging, and once I’ve found something that works, it’s too easy to just stick with it.


As healthy as blueberries are, they’re not the be-all, end-all of nutrition, and especially now that Jacob’s almost weaned, I’m ever more aware of how balanced his meals are. Or are not. Plus, variety is the spice of life, right?


So this week I tried to mix it up. I cut up some melon and peaches and offered those to Jacob at breakfast. I added some blueberries in, too, as long as we had them. But by Tuesday, we’d run out. The ones at the store Wednesday were already kind of fuzzy, so I held off. The raspberries looked good—to me at least—but Thursday morning, Jacob wasn’t so interested. It wasn’t until that afternoon that I found some good ones at the store.


After a rough day of some sniffles, no naps, and yet another mysterious (but not so serious) allergic reaction, Jacob wasn’t really thrilled about dinner. I tried to give him some pasta with chicken and vegetables, but for the second night in a row, that wasn’t really a go either. Call it mommy intuition or call it the grace of God, but my reaction was to go to the fridge and grab the blueberries. And man, oh man, did that kid gobble them up. He ate about half the package, as well as a few sweet potato fries, and that was dinner.


It seems his blueberry quota hadn’t been fulfilled, and nothing else would suffice.


Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson: always have blueberries on hand. Variety may be the spice of life, but it’s nothing without the cherry—or berry—on top.



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